Category Archives: Reviews

This must be the place | Review

★★★★☆ Poleroid Theatre, The Vaults

Poleroid Theatre presents a captivating tale of living in the 21st century, connectivity and breaking free from old lives.

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(Left to right) Feliks Mathur (Tate), Hamish Rush (Matty) Molly Roberts (Lily) and James Cooney (Adam) | Mathew Foster

Many dream of living in London, but with sky high house prices and the pressures of life in the capitol, only few make it.

This Must Be The Place tells the story of Adam, a young Londoner who is sick of city life, everyday rush hour, unaffordable flats and bad financial situations. He needs a clean break. One day after work he throws his phone into the Thames and disconnects himself from everything and everyone. He needs to find home.

Somewhere else, two friends are ready for a new start. With hopes of a better future, they are ready to leave their problems behind and head off to London.

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James Cooney (Adam) | Mathew Foster

The play explores relationships in the 21st century. In a society where mobile phones hold more value to people than real life connections. A like on social media is more important than a meaningful conversation with a friend, and sharing anything with anyone in the world is more interesting than talking to your family.

We’re addicted to our phones and the abilities to do it all, whether it’s through connecting with people across the world, or to give you answers to every possible question you might need to know. This play shows us that we’ve disconnected ourselves from reality and the outside world while being so connected, we’re essentially on our own.

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Feliks Mathur (Tate) and Hamish Rush (Matty) | Mathew Foster

These two stories are are creatively intertwined. Directed by Justin Audibert and Josh Roche, they conquer the hearts of the audience with wit, honesty and words only. No props, costumes or setting is even needed. The words grab you and pull you into the lives of each character.

Poleroid Theatre explores the “Dark undercurrents of life in the 21st century” and gives young actors and writers a chance to develop and thrive. James Cooney (Adam), Feliks Mathur (Tate), Molly Roberts (Lily) and Hamish Rush (Matty) all achieve to captivate the audience.

This Must Be The Place runs at the Vaults during Vault Festival until 12 February.

 

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Henry V | Review

★★★☆☆  Antic Disposition, Southwark Cathedral

A beautiful adaptation of Henry V, but it’s missing something to make it unforgettable.

Antic Disposition’s production of Shakespeare’s Henry V, embarks on its second UK tour of the most historic cathedrals.

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British soldiers | Scott Rylander

It’s France 1915, the first world war and two groups of wounded soldiers, French and British are brought to the same military hospital. While recovering, the soldiers and nurses stage the production of Henry V – 500 years after the Battle of Agincourt.

It’s not something for a Shakespeare newbie. Since it’s not easy to place the story or understand the context, if you’re not familiar with it or haven’t done some research beforehand you might find it slightly confusing. In this case, it’s almost essential to get a programme and give it a good read through before the start of the show.

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Photo courtesy: Scott Rylander

The production moves between 1415 and 1915, and adds original songs with live music inspired by the poetry of AE Housman.Whereas the transition between reality and play are smooth, you need to have some knowledge of Henry V to distinguish these at once.

The play being performed solely in cathedrals, gives it an opportunity that it wouldn’t have in a regular theatre and it’s obvious what was behind the thought process. It gives it the chance to use the acoustics to its advantage. The vast cathedral, with its high ceilings makes some scenes, songs and the sound of bombing more powerful, making the play more intense. However, the acoustics are also the downfall for the production. If the actor doesn’t directly face you, it is barley distinguishable what they are saying, therefore you’re losing out on the story.

Even though the cathedral makes the setting more unique and genuine, it has its downside as several scenes happen on the ground or sat down and even sitting in the second row, the view is obstructed resulting in missing out on several moments of the play.

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Floriane Andersen as Princess Katherine | Scott Rylander

The cast overall has uneven performances, some outstanding and touching, others rather forgettable. Floriane Andersen delivers a flawless performance, eloquently switching between English and French.

Anitc Dispostion’s Henry V tours across different cathedrals in the country until 22 February.

@Anticdispo #HenryV

Dirty Great Love Story | Review

★★★★☆  Arts Theatre, Dirty Great Love Story

Dirty Great Love Story is a quirky feel-good romantic comedy, perfect for fighting off those winter blues.

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Ayesha Antoine and Felix Scott | Richard Davenport

After a highly acclaimed UK tour, the Fringe First Award winning Dirty Great Love Story makes its West End debut.

Katie and Richard are two romantics that meet at a rather unromantic setting. Both are on a night out in a sweaty club and their drunken friends are trying to hook them up. The next morning they wake up hungover, barely remembering that they had slept together.

As soon as Katie gets the chance, she jumps out of bed and disappears. Richard is not her type, plus, she still needs to get over her Ex. However, as much as Katie would like to never see Richard again, fate has a different plan for them. Due to their friends, they keep bumping into each other, but does this mean they are meant to be?

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Felix Scott and Ayesha Antoine | Richard Davenport

Writers Richard Marsh and Katie Bonna create a wonderful love story that has the theatre shaking with laughter. Through its pop culture references and and modern feel, it’s relateable to any millennial everywhere. Some of us might see themselves in various characters, and recognise situations that mirror their own lives.

Pia Furtado directs Ayesha Antoine and Felix Scott who commit to their characters wonderfully and have the ability to change personas instantaneously, while they rhyme their way into the audiences’ heart.

Dirty Great Love runs at the Arts Theatre until 18 March 2017

@DirtyGreatLove #DirtyGreatLoveStory 

Muted | Review

★★★★★ Interval Productions, The Bunker Theatre

Sarah Henley’s heartbreakingly beautiful story of loss and love enchants the audience with emotional songs and astonishing voices.

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Muted | Savannah Photographic

Michael is the frontman of a band called Lost Boy. He and his friends are an inch away from becoming a success. Then his mother suddenly dies from a hit and run accident and he never speaks a word again. His friends desert him and he lives with his uncle. Years later, his ex-girlfriend Lauren and his friend Jake who is now Lauren’s boyfriend, want to make things good again. When the band gets another shot at stardom, Jake tries to get Michael back in the band, because the label wants him to be the frontman once again. When Lauren tries to bring Michael back to normal, old feelings are re-emerging and a dark truth uncovered.

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Teenage Michael ( Ed Campbell Bird) | Savannah Photographic

Jamie Jackson’s direction of the musical is fresh, artistic and contemporary, which works well with the venue, the story and the songs.

The teenage version of Michael, played by Ed Campbell Bird, appears as the inner voice of him, while he stays muted the teenage Michael sings and expresses his inner feelings. During flashbacks with the mother that explains their relationship, which was sometimes difficult, due to his mothers drinking and disappointment of his father leaving them. His uncle Will had to deal with the loss of the sister but couldn’t mourn her loss having cared for his nephew at a young age. Now he is torn between living his own life and staying with his nephew.

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Lauren ( Tori Allen-Martin) and Micheal (David Leopold) | Savannah Photographic

Michael played by David Leopold has the ability to show Michael’s pain and sorrow of losing his mother. His life being turned upside down, the confusion of not knowing who the driver was and his friends suddenly abandoning him weighs on him heavily. His facial expressions and body language convey his feeling’s perfectly, making you instantly connect with Michael. He is a lost boy, which coincides with the name of his former band.

Tori Allen-Martin is not only an incredible musician and writer, she plays her part as the ex-girlfriend that was driven away by her guilt and, feeling helpless but unearths old feelings for Michael. Her voice also touches everyone in the audience. It is soft, yet strong, beautiful and emotional.

Muted runs at the Bunker Theatre until 7 January 2017.

 

Pride and Prejudice | Review

★★★★☆ Two Bit Classics, Jermyn Street Theatre

This play is an intelligent and heartfelt adaption of the Jane Austen classic. With witty and creative uses of narration, this story tells of one of the most romantic novels of all time.

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Photo is courtesy of Carrie Johnson

When Mr Bingley moves to Netherfield Estate, Mrs Bennet gets excited as she hopes one of her daughters is to marry him. Having five daughters, she’s constantly trying to marry them off. Mr Bennet is a relaxed man compared to that of his wife, who is not as eager as his wife. When Jane meets Mr Bingley, they seem to have a mutual interest in each other. However, his sister doesn’t agree with their possible relationship. Meanwhile, Mr Darcy, a handsome and proud aristocrat, doesn’t make a good first impression with Elizabeth.

Joannah Tincey adapted the play, creating a theatrical experience of the novel. Starring two actors playing 21 characters that are distinguished and clear, finding the line between narrator and character. Her genius of exploring the 200-year-old story and turning it into a play that only uses Austen’s own words, is well thought and works brilliantly in the small space of the Jermyn Street Theatre.

Nick Underwood’s portrayal of Jane Bennett is elegant and feminine and an audience favourite. His coughing as Kitty creates laughter from beginning to end.

Two Bit Classics Pride and Prejudice Photo by Carrie Johnson
Mrs Bennet (Joannah Tincey) and Mr Bennet (Nick Underwood) | Carrie Johnson

Director Abigail Anderson created an engaging romantic play, bringing famous personas from British Literature to the stage. She uses the third person narrative that introduces a dialogue between two characters, and by addressing the audience, they create a sense of relationship.

Whereas it is slow at points, once you pick up the story, it’s easy to get lost in it. It also seems slightly confusing, the actors are running around, changing characters and it takes a while until you catch on. After understanding which person possesses what characteristic, it’s easy to follow their journey.

 

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Jane Bennet (Nick Underwood) and Elizabeth Bennet (Joannah Tincey) | Carrie Johnson

The show uses a creative approach of narration in order to change characters. Underwood and Tincey narrate while acting and therefore explaining who is speaking. One element that makes this play so beautiful are the little differences between each character. A pipe for Mr Bennet, a handkerchief for Mrs Bennet. A change of tone, accent or body language. Those details accentuate the amazing character work by the two actors, showing that they know their characters very well.

Pride and Prejudice runs at the Jermyn Street Theatre until 21 December.

@TwoBitClassics @jstheatre #PrideAndPrejudice

Dead Funny | Review

★★★★☆ Vaudeville Theatre, Dead Funny

Terry Johnson wrote and directed an homage to comedians Benny Hill, Tommy Cooper and co. while reflecting their not so funny private lives in a laugh-out-loud spectacle.

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Official Poster (Vaudeville Theatre)

It’s 1992, everything’s a laugh. Richard is the President of the Dead Funny society and for him and his friends, Lisa (Emily Berrington), Nick (Ralf Little) and Brian (Steve Pemberton) nothing could be better than slipping famous routines of their favorite comedians into their lives and society meetings. All could be great if it wasn’t for Katherine Parkinson’s character, Eleanor (the star of the show) ruining their meeting with her cynical attitude and always infuriatingly funny, snappy and belittling comments towards her husband’s and friends’ obsessive love for dead comedians.

She’s unhappy and struggling with her own life, but she wants a baby. Desperately. All she can think about is getting pregnant and sleeping with her husband, who is pre-occupied with his own internal battles. It’s clear from the beginning that he feels rather uncomfortable in her presence and tries to avoid physical contact with her.

Their long-term friend Brian adds to the comedic value of the show. He seems to have the talent of always turning up at the wrong time or the perfect time, depending on who’s side your on. His somehow innocent characteristics makes him immediately likable.

It almost seems like you’re watching two plays at the same time. One about a struggling relationship and the other a satirical play on dead comedians, and their long-term admirers who have created the society.

Those collide when Benny Hill dies and the society holds a honorary meeting at Eleanor’s and Richard’s house.

However, if you’re unfamiliar with all these comedians, many jokes and anecdotes might easily be missed. What makes this play so funny is the mix of the cynical and admiration of old comedians and the clash of two different worlds.

The climax happens when secrets are uncovered and pies fly into faces. It’s a perfect way to celebrate iconic and traditional English comedy.

Dead Funny runs at the Vaudeville Theatre until 4 February 2017. Get you tickets here.

This Little Life of Mine | Review

★★★☆☆ Park Theatre, This Little Life of Mine

Michael Yale (Book and Direction) creates a delightful production that depicts the ups and downs of an ordinary life.

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Jonesy and Izzy are young, in love and just moved into a new tiny flat in London. They live an ordinary life, with friends and jobs. However, as normal for ordinary people, things happen. Rather their funny incidents, with their friends wanting to swing with them or showing them what Tinder is about. As well as sad moments, like having difficulties to get pregnant which puts a strain on the relationship. From the beginning of the show it is clear that this new musical has a lot of potential. With songs like ‘Hey Prince Charming’ and ‘Just one more’ ( A song about one cheeky drink at the pub turning into many), which we’ve all experienced before.

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Greg Barnett is the comedic highlight, playing Raphael the barrista and bartender.  Kate Batter has a wonderful voice and shows vulnerability playing Izzy , who’s desperate to become pregnant. Caroline Deverill shows great versatility playing a range of characters, from the best friend to the mother-in-law. Jonesy, played by James Robinson, shows a lot of heart. The duet between him and Izzy, is incredibly touching and is a perfect way to show their problems as a couple, their loss of connection and disparity. 0ayngnmu-jpg-large

Some of the characters are flawed and are missing substance. While only showing the surface, it still feels believable and their feelings and problems are easily relatable. As a millennial, I expected this show to mirror a contemporary couple’s lifestyle. However, it wasn’t modern enough for me. It was great to see references to Doctor Who or seeing them take a selfie and things that millennials do and say, but it was simply not enough. Sometimes, it wasn’t really believable either. Izzy wasn’t dressed as hip and young Londoner and not knowing what Tinder was, even if you’re in a relationship, doesn’t particularly scream millennial.

Yet, this heartfelt story is wonderfully entertaining and Charlie Round-Turner’s music makes this ordinary musical quite extraordinary.

The Little Life of Mine is currently playing at the Park Theatre until 29 Oct 2016.